This paper provides an analysis of social robots from a care ethics perspective, with relationality and reciprocity at the center. By investigating the impact of social robots on relational reciprocity I suggest a specific kind of deception; humans are deceived into believing that the robot is deserving of reciprocity by the robot’s appearance of responsiveness. Addressing the impact of social robots on reciprocity as a political ideal, the risk identified is a re-direction of resources from humans towards robots; social robots may threaten the ability to reciprocate to, and further may weaken the incentive to give back to, care workers.
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